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Thread: Aging Enigma

  1. #1
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
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    Florida
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    516

    Aging Enigma

    Ok, bourbon scholars, here's a little mystery for you...

    I have a growing collection of nearly 40 bourbons, covering every age from 6 to 20 years old, with two exceptions. As I looked over my inventory and checked some books, I noticed there are no 11 or 14-year-olds in the market. Come to think of it, I don't believe I have seen any scotch of such vintage either. Are those "mutating years" in the cask or is it just a strange coincidence that no one seems to bottle at those ages?

    Omar

    Eat well. Laugh often. Sip bourbon.


  2. #2
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Aging Enigma

    This is a new one for me. What about it Julian or Ken? Is there a particular reason for this to occure?
    Mike Veach


  3. #3
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Aging Enigma

    I don't know the reason for the missing 11 and 14 YO bourbons, other than maybe marketing, but Oban 14 and Clynelish 14 (Flora & Fauna series) are single malts that are 14 years old and there are certainly indies of the same age. There is also an 11 YO "Leapfrog" Murray McDavid Laphroaig. I'm curious to know the answer to this.

    Ed

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
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    Nov 2000
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    Frankfort, KY
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    499

    Re: Aging Enigma

    The answer is very simple, MARKETING! We sell Glenfarclas Single Malt Scotch, which comes in 10, 12, 15, 17, 21, 25, 30, 40 year, and cask strength. The 17 and 21 are unusual in that they represent odd "off" years. Once you hit double figures in age, 10 is just as good, if not better than 11. Not so much from a taste perspective, but from customer appeal. Now for some insider information. Just because a label says 10 years old does not mean that what is inside the bottle is 10 years old. All it means is that the product is at LEAST 10 years old. Or, in the case of blended whiskey, the youngest blend is 10 years old. So, would an 11 year old bourbon show up in a 10 year old package? Absolutely!
    Again, from a marketing standpoint, a 15 year old product has attained a psychological milestone in the eyes of most consumers, while the 14 year old has not quite matured (therefore it is not quite as good). The reality could be that marketing, and not the Master Distiller, is deciding what to offer. When that happens, I'm out of here.
    Finally, I participated in a scotch dinner at the Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth (I love dropping names). I presented three Glenfarclas offerings and Evan Cattanach, Director of Single Malts for Schieffelin & Somerset presented three. The 14 year old Oban was excellent. They obviously did not let marketing get in the way of releasing an outstanding whisky.

    Ken


  5. #5
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
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    Florida
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    516

    Re: Aging Enigma

    Ken,

    Sure, 10 and 15 year milestones are marketing tools. But so are aging oddities. Take for instance, your own 19-yr. Weller. Wouldn't a 20-yo have been more exclusive and appealing? Frankly, I think releasing those odd ages (the 19 Weller and 17 Eagle Rare) was smart as there was nothing in the market of such vintage. Both Knob Creek and Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve prominently display their odd 9 and 13 years. Knob Creek did not wait for double digits and Old Charter wasn't superstitious. The oddity works. If a 14-yr Oban is excellent, why not try it in bourbonland? Please tell Elmer and Gary I'd be very curious about an 11 or 14 year old Buffalo Trace product for the same reason.

    Omar


  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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    140

    Re: Aging Enigma

    Omar:

    "As I looked over my inventory and checked some books, I noticed there are no 11 or 14-year-olds in the market."

    No 11 YO bourbons come to mind, but I have a 14 YO made by none other than our own Julian Van Winkle. It's one of the Berghoff's (a Chicago restaurant) private label brands and it's probably my favorite Van Winkle bourbon out there.

    Stotz


  7. #7
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: Aging Enigma

    Ken is right about the age statements. When I was at U.D. they had so severely overproduced that they were putting 9 to 10 year old bourbon in Weller Special Reserve just to get rid of some old bourbon.
    Mike Veach


  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Nelson County, Kentucky
    Posts
    2,735

    Re: Aging Enigma

    The only time we run 4yr 100 and actually put 6yr. 100 in the bottle is when the 4yr is a small run and we have a large run of 6yr 100 behind it. They do this because it saves a lot of time on tank changes and circulation. The law says that you can go higher (the year) than the label states but you cannot go lower.

    Federal inspectors come unannounced quite often. They check everything and they come through the employee doors. No going to the office to announce that they are there. There are government warnings on every bottle. If a inspector finds a bottle without a warning on it there is a $10,000 fine for each bottle that he or she finds in our warehouse.

    boone



  9. #9
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Bloomington, IN
    Posts
    784

    Re: Aging

    Thank God the government is is on the job. I don't want to pay for 6 yr old whiskey that's only 4 yrs old. I don't mind paying for 4 yrs and getting six. Though if I'm used to the barrel contribution of 4 yrs (rather green) I might be very suprised if they snuck 6 yr whiskey in the bottle. But the saving in change over makes a lot of sense. Small runs are the bain of any industry.

    thanks, boone,

    Greg


  10. #10
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    265

    Re: Aging Enigma

    Ryan,
    You took the words right off the tips of my fingers; 14-year, 90 proof Berghoff. I bottled that whiskey since it was the age my family used to bottle one of the Berghoff labels whem we had Old Fitz. I now bottle two 10-year old labels for them also. The 14 year is great. In that case, it is the customer's choice as to what year to bottle their whiskey.
    In the case of my 13-year rye, I tasted that rye at 13-years, and decided that was a great flavor at that time. So it can be marketing or just chance as to what age a whiskey is bottled. When my Dad started the Old Rip Van Winkle label after we sold Old Fitz, it was an 11-year old whiskey. He liked those esoteric age statements. They stuck out on the shelf compared to other mainstream brands. When he bottled Old Fitzgerald Prime for the fisrt time, it was 86.8 proof. Same idea, to catch people's attention. Of course he had to wait until Pappy was gone to bottle that "LOW" proof, because as you may know, Pappy was against "shipping all that water all over the country."
    Julian



 

 

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